Hip Bursitis(Trochanteric Bursitis)


What Is Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis (also known as greater trochanter pain syndrome) is inflammation in the hip’s bursa, a cushion that protects the tendon and muscles from rubbing against bone. Because the adult body contains 160 bursae (the plural form of bursa), other body parts can also develop bursitis, including the shoulders, knees and elbows.

Hip bursitis can occur in bursa on the outside or inside of your hip. The type of hip bursitis you have depends on where the affected bursa is and if it’s infected. The major types of hip bursitis are:

  • Trochanteric bursitis: The trochanter is the bony knob at the top of the thighbone on the outside of the hip. When your pain is located in the bursa found in this area, doctors call it trochanteric bursitis.
  • Iliopsoas bursitis or ischial bursitis: Sometimes, a bursa on the inside of the hip (the groin side) becomes inflamed, causing pain in the groin or buttock.
  • Septic hip bursitis: If your bursa becomes infected, it is septic hip bursitis. Septic hip bursitis can be serious and causes additional symptoms, like feeling feverish, tired and sick.

The inflammation of hip bursitis can be caused by injuries like a damaged tendon or by chronic rubbing or pressure within the hip. Because of this, hip bursitis is the most common cause of hip pain.

Whether you know you have hip bursitis or aren’t sure what’s causing your hip pain, we can help. Our orthopedic team can identify the source of your pain and offer personalized treatments that will help you find relief.

Our treatment plans may include integrative therapies like acupuncture, physical therapy and, when necessary, minimally invasive surgery to help you move comfortably again.

The Aurora Difference

Expert Diagnosis & Treatment for Hip Bursitis

If you have bursitis of the hip, Aurora Health Care’s orthopedic team can help you find a solution to ease the pain.

As one of Wisconsin’s largest regional health care systems, we offer:

  • Expert diagnosis: Our orthopedic team handles hip care for everyone – from active adults to athletes to people with arthritis pain. Because we treat so many people from different backgrounds, we have the experience to accurately diagnose bursitis and recommend the most effective treatment option for you – often without surgery.
  • Emphasis on prevention and physical therapy: It’s our goal to help you avoid surgery whenever possible. Often that means treating hip bursitis with physical therapy, which can teach you new ways to accomplish daily tasks without pain. Learn more about orthopedic physical therapy.
  • Convenient locations: Our geographic coverage throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois means you can see a doctor and find physical therapy close to home. See our locations.

Causes & Risk Factors

What Raises Your Risk For Hip Bursitis?

Hip bursitis is most common in women and people who are middle-aged or older – although it can affect anyone.

Some factors increase the likelihood of bursitis, including:

  • Overuse/repeated pressure on the hip: Hip bursitis usually occurs after long periods of repeated activity like standing, walking, stair climbing, gardening, running or painting. If you have a bone spur (a small outgrowth on the hip or thighbone), you are more likely to develop bursitis as well.
  • Hip injuries: Falling onto the side of your hip, striking your hip on a hard surface or lying on one side for a long time (for instance, while on bed rest) can irritate the bursa and cause bursitis.
  • Other lower-body conditions: Issues that affect the spine, hips, knees and legs can cause instability that can lead to bursitis of the hip. Conditions like knee osteoarthritis, scoliosis and pinched nerves can also raise your risk.
  • Uneven leg lengths: Your hip bursa can become irritated if you have one leg that is an inch or longer than the other. Custom foot orthotics or shoe inserts can ease that discomfort.


Symptoms of Hip Bursitis

The main symptom of hip bursitis is pain:

  • On the outside of the hip and outer thigh (trochanteric bursitis)
  • In the groin or upper buttock (iliopsoas bursitis)

Hip bursitis pain tends to get worse after you’ve been sitting or lying down. The pain may also increase when you do a repetitive activity, like climbing stairs.

When Should You See a Doctor for Hip Bursitis?

If pain from bursitis lasts longer than one to two weeks, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.

While it isn’t common for the inflamed bursa in your hip to become infected, when it does happen, it’s called septic bursitis – and it can be dangerous. See a doctor right away if you have pain and redness at the hip along with fever, chills or nausea. Septic bursitis requires treatment with antibiotics so the infection does not spread.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing Hip Bursitis

Bursitis pain may radiate throughout the hip, thigh and buttock. To confirm that the cause of the pain is bursitis, your doctor will do a complete physical exam and ask you about how and when the pain began.

Your doctor might also ask you to do simple tasks like standing on the affected leg to see how your legs are functioning. Sometimes, your doctor will order an X-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, too, to verify that the pain is due to bursitis and not a fracture or other problem.

Learn more about other causes of hip pain.

Treating Hip Bursitis

Most hip bursitis gets better with simple lifestyle changes. At Aurora, your doctor will walk you through these changes and speak to you about any other treatments that may help, too. These lifestyle changes and treatments include:

  • Changing activities: By avoiding activities that cause pain, you can give the bursa a chance to recover.
  • Hip support: A walking cane, crutches or a hip brace can provide additional support as needed.
  • Physical therapy: Your physical therapist and doctor will work together to create a treatment plan that’s right for you – whether the best way to relieve the pain of bursitis is by finding new ways to move or increasing mobility. Learn more about physical therapy.
  • Injections: In some cases, your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection to relieve pain from bursitis. Read more about injections for joint pain.
  • Aspiration: When a bursa is very swollen, removing excess fluid with a special needle, or aspiration, can provide pain relief. If your doctor suspects the bursa is infected, he or she may order tests on the fluid from the bursa.
  • Arthroscopic surgery: Most people recover from bursitis of the hip without surgery, but if other treatments aren’t successful, your doctor might suggest removing the bursa with surgery. Usually, your surgeon can remove the bursa with minimally invasive arthroscopy, a technique that uses small instruments and tiny incisions. Because this approach involves less damage to your body’s tissues, you can expect a faster recovery, less chance of infection and the best possible range of motion after surgery. Find out more about minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.

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